Tag Archives: Free Speech

How To Do Liberty Right: Freedom For Me = Freedom For Thee

Despite those with maybe some rare psychological condition (libertophobia?), we all want to be free. Specifically; I don’t think a single person has something they want to do, that they then want government to prevent them from doing it. So denying others similar freedoms should reasonably be thought of as hypocritical.

While everyone can apply their own nuance to what liberty or freedom means to them, I’d like to politely take the role of arbiter for a moment, and share where I think many go wrong when proposing roles of government. Here are a few instances I’ve come up with. Feel free to add more in the comments below.

You have the right to say whatever you want. You don’t have a right to be heard or to be uninterrupted.

Because I have a decent number of people I enjoy interacting with on social media, I am rather uninterested in disrespectful discourse, since there’s so much respectful discourse I could be having instead.

As a result, many often insinuate when I mute or block those people on Twitter, I’m stifling free speech. Which is a pretty outlandish false premise.

On social media, you might get blocked. In person, people might walk away from you. But, if you want to be heard, and people are exercising the right to take their leave of your message, maybe you need to work on your delivery of said message, or the message itself. But you don’t get to compel them to listen. Nor should you argue that them blocking you is anti-free speech.

Milo Yiannopoulos

Your right to free speech means you can’t be impeded by government for exercising your right to speak. It doesn’t mean that protesters can’t protest Milo Yiannopoulos, employers can’t fire you for saying something inappropriate, or people on social media can’t block you.

You have a right to seek employment, but not a right to be employed.

If you go to seek a job, assuming it’s a private business versus a government job, the business OWNER owns that business, no different from you owning your home stereo for instance.

If no one has a right to dictate to you what music you play on that stereo, you don’t have a right to dictate who they hire, serve, what they pay you, or anything else.

The job market and the consumer markets are intended to be free markets. Either both parties agree to terms on what is to transpire, or one/both of them walk away. But forcing one party to comply with the other’s wishes is a mafia tactic, not something the people should be sanctioning.

Does that mean a bigoted jerk could put a sign out front denying service to gays, blacks, whites, women, Latinos, Asians, et al.? Yes, it does.

Does a private citizen who is offended by that practice have a right to share it on social media, maybe get local news involved, protest this business, etc., until the market decides that this bigoted jerk doesn’t deserve their money, then watches his business fail due to lack of revenue?

Why yes…yes it also does!

You have a right to engage in free speech, you don’t have a right to put someone in harm’s way utilizing speech.

Using the “Fire in a crowded theater” analogy, you can say the word “Fire” in a theater, you can even yell it if the theater were empty, or if the people know you were joking. If there’s actually a fire in the theater, you’ve not only broken no law, you’re potentially a hero.

But if there’s no fire, you have instead put people in danger by creating a stampede that may lead to people falling, getting walked on, and harmed. So it’s not the “Speech” that is being prosecuted, it’s the act of putting others in danger.

Think of it this way. The 2nd amendment guarantees your right to own and fire a gun, but it doesn’t allow you to shoot someone who is no threat to you.

In the same vein, the first amendment guarantees your right to free speech, you can’t use that speech to harm someone either.

You have a right to ask someone for help. You do not have the right to dictate they help you.

If your car breaks down, you don’t have a right to demand a mechanic fix it so you can get to work.

So that should also mean you don’t have a right to demand a teacher educate you because you need a better job, or demand a doctor help you because you’re sick.

Doctors and teachers have the same rights as everyone else. As such, consumers have no right to free services or goods.

Free Education and Free Health Care are nothing more than servitude (if you force them to provide a service) and/or theft (if you force the people to pay for their services). If it’s volunteers and private donations, that’s the only way it is a completely moral exercise.

You have a right to equal protection and service from government, not from the private sector.

Waiting in Emergency department

If you’re LGBTQ, you have a right to dictate that the government acknowledge your marriage, and under our current system, to have a judge (a government employee), perform the ceremony. You’ve paid taxes into that system, and the government cannot discriminate. If the government employee doesn’t like it, they should have joined the private sector.

But you do not have a right to ask a private pastor to do the ceremony, nor do you have a right to dictate a baker bake you a cake. Why? Because they have the same rights you do.

Summary

People often think those who champion freedom are being selfish, and it is certainly true for some. But the people who are truly libertarian in their beliefs are also not hypocrites. They believe others should have the same rights and don’t have to agree with someone to support the rights of another.

  • A teetotaler can support the rights of alcohol drinkers
  • A monogamist can support the rights of a sex worker
  • An atheist can support the rights of churches, synagogues, etc.
  • A non-gun owner can support the 2nd amendment
  • A heterosexual can support gay marriage
  • Someone does not like abortion can support a woman’s right to choose
  • A clean person can support another’s right to use recreational drugs
  • A helmet-wearing motorcycle rider can support another person’s right to not wear a helmet

I can go on forever about what it means to do liberty right. Hypocrisy is never considered a good trait to have. So hopefully, after reading this, you can find an area where you’ve had the opinion that government should restrict someone’s rights and are now second guessing that thought. Liberty for me, must come with liberty for thee.

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Cops Getting Fired Over Racial Tweets: This is NOT A Free Speech Issue

You may have read in the news recently about two Ohio police officers getting potentially fired over very racists texts to one another. One of which said, “I hate n******. That is all.” (I edited out the pejorative, as I prefer not to repeat it.)

Some people are crying out that this is a clear violation of those officer’s First Amendment free speech rights. But nothing could be further from the truth.

While I am the first to complain about our rights being violated every day, this particular claim is one born from a basic lack of understanding regarding our Constitution.

The 1st Amendment
The 1st Amendment

The first amendment (and all of the amendments in the Bill of rights, for that matter) exists to protect you from prosecution because of something you might say. It does not protect you from having any repercussions from it.

For instance, if the state of Ohio tried to pass a law that said police officers may not engage in any racists discussions under penalty of law; that would be a clear violation of the first amendment. But, that is not what happened here; they were not charged with a crime in any way. They were simply put on leave pending investigation, and may be fired as a result.

Since it’s a separate issue altogether, I will avoid pointing out that the police officer’s union may work to save their jobs. My hatred of labor unions is well documented, so I will just state that I think the unions care little about rights or justice, just benefits to their own. In my opinion however, rights nor justice will be best served if these officers are not fired.

Oddly, the ones complaining about the rights of the officers being violated are actually championing rights violations of their employers instead, essentially making them hypocrites.

For instance, let’s imagine I started a business called Gary’s Gun Shop. Then imagine I had two employees whom I saw at some restaurant on their break. They don’t see me though, and I overhear them saying, “You know, I f***ing hate Marines. I wish every one of them died in combat.”

Owning a gun shop, I know that many of my customers will be current or former military, the last thing I want are employees who hate them. I have a legitimate concern that they will treat them poorly, so I should have the right to fire them, and you damn well bet I would.

Sadly, people often fail to look outside of themselves when it comes to employers. Most people have never owned their own business, and therefore have a hard time empathizing with business owners who do in fact have the same rights they do.

Imagine the police came to your home and told you how to arrange your furniture. Would you be pretty mad? Well business owners own a business, just as you own your home, so it’s essentially the same thing.

SWAT team: AKA People I'd eventually see if I used my 12 year old death trap to give people rides via Lyft
SWAT team

Obviously these officers work for government, which is owned by the people, not a person. But whether the owner of a company is taking disciplinary action against an employee, or it’s just their boss who is making that decision doesn’t matter. A supervisor of any sort has the right to fire you if they have legitimate concerns about how you may do your job in a way that’s inconsistent with that organization’s mission statement.

People often fail to realize that you do not have the right to a job, you only have the right to pursue employment. Whether an employer wants to hire you or keep you as an employee is their right alone. Your right is with whom you choose to accept an employment offer from, and that’s it.

The other issue at play here is a serious issue many people are losing sight of—liability. Once news broke these officers were clearly racists, and specifically stated they hated black people, that information is in the public domain.

If that officer then goes on to carry out their duties against a black person, any policy they might violate would immediately be grounds for a civil suit against the police department he serves. The officer’s racist texts would be exhibit #1 for the prosecution, and it would be an immensely powerful bit of evidence.

The litigants would easily argue that the officer did not act in good faith, use his racist diatribe against him, and blame the police force for not dismissing the officer accordingly, arguing they knowingly kept someone on staff who had the propensity to violate the rights of black people. And furthermore, they’d be right!

Such suits can cost communities, and therefore taxpayers millions. So kudos to this police department for taking swift action. Let’s hope the police union breaks with tradition and sides with justice, instead of opting to protect the bad actors among their ranks—I’m not holding my breath though, they have a history…

Phil Robertson Poll

With all the hullaballoo over Phil Robertson’s comments, it seems many people have a diverse opinion on what A&E should have done. What say you?